Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Murtha Reloaded: Insurgency vs Terrorism

Earlier I wrote a post where I accepted the argument of Rep. Murtha and followed where it took me. That was so much fun I decided to try it again.

Today, in response to the President's speech before the Council of Foreign Relations,
Murtha said this:

Now, let me tell you the major problem we have. You heard the president talk today about terrorism. Every other word was "terrorism." Let me separate terrorism from insurgency. ...

Bin Laden said he attacked the United States because of the troops in Saudi Arabia. That's terrorism. Terrorism was in London. Terrorism was in Spain. Terrorism was, obviously, in the United States.

That's completely separate from what's going on in Iraq. Iraq is an insurgency. ...

Now, let's talk about terrorism versus insurgency in Iraq itself. We think that foreign fighters are about 7 percent -- might be a little bit more, a little bit less. Very small proportion of the people that are involved in the insurgency are terrorists or how I would interpret them as terrorists.

Wow. That is some juicy stuff. Since kausfiles has already nailed the "this man seems confused argument" I'll move on.

As best as I can understand it, Murtha's distinction between "insurgents" and "terrorists" rests on whether they are foreign or domestic. Hence the importance he places on the idea "that foreign fighters are about 7 percent" of our enemies in Iraq. Let's accept that distinction as the key to determining who is a terrorist and who is an insurgent. But before we go any further, let's examine the three attacks Murtha mentioned.

Clearly, as Murtha said, the men who carried out the 9/11 attacks were not American citizens. Therefore, under his criteria, they were terrorists. That's easy. The 3/11 attacks in Madrid were carried out by a mixed group of al Qaeda-related militants:
Moroccans, Algerians and at least one Spaniard. Mostly foreigners, even if some were natives or long-term residents of Spain. Again, terrorists.

Three of the four 7/7 bombers were native Brits, born and raised. The other was Jamaican-born but married to a British native. Unless you're going to make the nationalist claim that the children of Pakistani immigrants can't be British, then this was an attack by local people against what they considered to be an illegitimate government. Therefore they were insurgents.

Onward. Let's accept Murtha classification system look at some key conflicts.

Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible for several attacks in Indonesia, including the October 2002 bombing that killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists. Insurgency. Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines? Insurgency. Hezbollah? Islamic Jihad? Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated Sadat? Insurgencies all.

Let's widen our view.
ETA, the Basque groups that just detonated 7 bombs to mark Spain's Constitution Day? Aum Shinrikyo, the religious group that released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system? Both groups are comprised of local people, native born to the nations they are fighting. Insurgencies.

Are these too abstract and distant from US concerns? Let's stick close to home.
The Weather Underground? The Symbionese Liberation Army? Both were groups of native, local fighters, determined to overthrow a government they saw as oppressive and illegitimate. Insurgencies, again.

Let's get even closer to home.
Eric Robert Rudolph was born in Florida. His religious beliefs lead him to view the current regime as responsible for perpetrating great and continuing evils. He bombed the Olympic Games, a nightclub frequented by homosexuals and lesbians, and a clinic that performed abortions. Given Murtha's criteria why is he not considered an insurgent?

You can see where all this leads. Timothy McVeigh. American Insurgent. Can I expect to see him labeled as such in future articles concerning "the Events of April 19, 1995"? Someone should ask Rep. Murtha.

The point is that Murtha's distinction is a silly one. You can call them insurgents or terrorists. You can call them Minutemen (if you're a fat, self-obsessed tool.) The point is this: the insurgents/terrorists/pixies we're fighting in Iraq are the same people who have attacked us all over the world and here in the US. Don't take it from me. Listen to the Number 2 pixie.


Nora (LV) said...

ETA, you say? je, je, they are just rubbish. Do you know that Josu Ternera, a famous ETA terrorist, condemned to a lot of years in prison for the bombings he did, was named by the Basque parliament head of its Human Rights Comiision?

And that is the problem: the alliance of the constitutional powers with the ETA terrorists. The Socialists just said: "These are least important than the ones that happened in Aznar's age".

The President did not condemned the bombings. This is what he said:

And last week Vidal-Quadras, an Spanish Parliament told in a radio (I have the audio in Spanish) that "sometimes he understood the Shoah" to two jews: Elena Benarroch -a famous Spanish jewish designer, who desings for the Zapatero's wife- and his husband.

I do not think that the world knows how honest Spanish people feel now.

Nora (LV) said...

Oh and the 11/M bombings are not very clear. There are some very curious things about them.

Someday I would write about that.